PITTSFIELD — City and school district human resource officials told members of the Affirmative Action Advisory Committee on Wednesday that they are having a difficult time attracting candidates for open jobs.
“We’re just not getting the applicants, period,” Pittsfield Director of Human Resources Michael Taylor said. “It’s been a real challenge.”
Lovelyne Pierre, the newly hired director of human resources and diversity and inclusion at Pittsfield Public Schools, seconded Taylor’s assessment of the recruitment process.
Pierre said she will be traveling to colleges in Springfield, Amherst and Albany, N.Y., to try and attract more applicants to the area. She also is hoping to increase the mentorship opportunities for young teachers and staff joining the district.
In recent months, the city and the school district have participated in virtual job fairs like MassHire, a state initiative to connect residents with local employers. Taylor said the city also joined a virtual job board, called DiversityEmployers.com. Despite this, most applicants are being directed to openings from either city and school websites or LinkedIn.
Since March, the district has hired 39 new employees, 26 who self-identified as nonwhite and 13 who self-identified as white. Just fewer than 10 percent of the candidates for open district jobs since March have self-identified as nonwhite, according to Pierre.
The city reported that, during that same time period, there have been 19 open positions, which attracted 280 candidates. Just fewer than 10 percent of those applicants self-identified as either Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander or two or more races. Taylor said that four of the 28 people hired by the city since March were nonwhite.
Taylor and Pierre said most of the applicants for open jobs are from the surrounding region.
The move to hire more diverse candidates aligns with Mayor Linda Tyer’s plan to create an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In May, the City Council approved almost $100,000 for the creation of that office. Taylor said that the city expects to open the new office in September or early fall, after a vote on the office’s job descriptions by the City Council.